Our lives are entwined with theirs, our world and their world swirled together long ago. When we see our pets anxious, or losing appetite, or in pain, we take care of them with a heart full of love. If you want to use cannabis safely with your pet in Humboldt, follow these steps.
1. Identify your pet’s condition for which you think cannabis might be helpful. Common conditions include pain, nausea, anxiety, epilepsy and cancer.
2. Be informed about cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are the active compounds found in cannabis and they interact with your pet’s endocannabinoid system—a central regulatory system that affects bodily processes such as sleep, mood and digestion. There are at least 113 cannabinoids in cannabis, most notably THC and CBD. CBD (cannabidiol) is the part of the plant with NO psychoactive properties, only medicinal properties. Your pet cannot get high from CBD. On the other hand, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the part of the plant with psychoactive properties, and there are medicinal properties to THC as well. Because pets have so many more cannabinoid receptors in their brains and bodies than humans, very small doses will affect them profoundly.While THC products may have potential benefits, there’s insufficient scientific basis to make qualified recommendations. Products containing THC are best avoided for pets at this time.
3. Talk to your vet. Vets cannot prescribe cannabis or make recommendations, but they can provide education. Don’t be shy, vets want to know. “In our practice we make a habit of asking what products caregivers are using, how much is being administered, and what effects are noticed. We want to expand our knowledge base,” notes Sarah Green of Healing Spirit Animal Wellness Center in Eureka.
4. Go to a licensed dispensary (CApotcheck.com) to buy your cannabis product.Outside of dispensaries, there’s a flood of products that claim to be designed for pets. But many of these products don’tcontain adequate doses of CBD, and they may contain dangerous levels of chemicals and pesticides.Products carried in licensed dispensaries in California must have compliance test results, so you know that any product is safe in terms of potency and contaminants.
5. Consider tinctures. “Customers report that tinctures are good because you can control the dosage, and it’s not a new ‘treat’ but rather something added to existing food,” says Bryan Willkomm of Humboldt Patient Resource Center (HPRC).
6. Buy organic. Unlike traditional agricultural regions impacted by heavy metals in the soil, Humboldt is home to hundreds of craft farms that grow plants organically and sustainably. Choose Humboldt cannabis for a safe, organic product.
7. Choose a tincture that was safely extracted. CO2 and alcohol are the safest extraction techniques--other methods may leave behind residual chemicals that can be toxic to your pet. A good choice is Humboldt Apothecary’s ‘Pet CBD’ made using a cold ethanol wash.
8. Keep a journal. You’ll want to note when you give your pet cannabis, at what dosage, and what effects you notice.
9. Start slow and low. For example, if a tincture’s recommended dosage is a half dropper, start with just 1 drop. Wait about 2 hours before serving again. A study published by Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in July 2018 found a dose 2 mg/ kg of body weight (about 45 mg for a 50 lb. dog) given twice a day to be effective in helping dogs with pain from osteoarthritis.
10. Store your product in a cool dark place out of your pet’s reach.
11. If your pet appears to be affected by too much cannabis, rest and hydration are recommended.
Nicole Riggs is the founder of Manifesto Synergies and Chief Marketing Officer at Humboldt Community Business Development Center (HCBDC)